Posted: May 2nd, 2013 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »
PE.com got Howie Roseman to sit down for about 10 minutes and discuss the Eagles draft. Good interview by Dave. There were no hard-hitting questions about Dion Jordan or players we missed on, but Dave did get Howie to share a couple of good nuggets.
The best story is that Howie said the Eagles tried to move up into the 3rd round on Friday night to get Matt Barkley. The teams at the bottom of the round didn’t want to deal. They had players that they were set on taking. When the round was over, Howie started making calls to deal up to the top of the 4th round. They really wanted to get Barkley.
Howie also said that the Eagles considered taking Earl Wolff in the 4th round (had Barkley been gone). They happily grabbed him in the 5th round. Had Wolff been gone at that point, Joe Kruger and Jordan Poyer were targets. The 6th round was pure torture since the team had no pick, but saw players they wanted still sitting there. Amazingly, both Kruger and Poyer were there for the taking in the 7th round.
Time will tell if the Eagles were smarter than everybody else and got very lucky or if Kruger/Poyer fell to the 7th because they were talented, but too flawed to succeed in the NFL.
I love the fact that Howie is willing to let us have a bit of inside info. I don’t think his comments are going to help the other teams. They do help us on the outside understand what they were thinking in the draft room as things played out over the weekend. Kudos for not being overly secretive, as so many teams are.
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Paul Domowitch used his connections with NFL scouts to get some really good nuggets on the Eagles picks. I thought the Bennie Logan comments were the most interesting.
Bennie Logan, DT, LSU: “I was down there for LSU’s Pro Day. Bennie was by far the leader of that defensive group. He had to push (Sam) Montgomery through the workout. You maybe expect a little more out of his play at times, but they had so many guys there. But he’s got the right attitude.
“He’s not real tall, but he’s a good athlete who can move around. He’s pretty versatile. He can play the 1-technique. I wouldn’t count him out as a 3 either. And he can play the 5-technique (end in a 3-4). He can be a productive rotational player for them right away.’’
Very good piece. I love it when Domo does this type stuff.
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Reuben Frank covered the angle that Chip Kelly passed on his former Oregon Ducks. Good piece, but circumstances really were the key here. Kelly didn’t get a chance to take Dion Jordan. Kyle Long and Kiko Alonso went earlier than I expected. Kenjon Barner was drafted in the 6th round, when the Eagles didn’t have a pick.
Kelly didn’t over-value his guys and demand Howie trade up for them. I think Chip is too smart for stuff like that, but it was good to find that out for sure.
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In case I hadn’t linked to it already, here is my PE.com draft review.
Jimmy Bama has some info on NFC East draft picks and shares a couple of thoughts on the numbers that the Eagles rookies are going to wear.
Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 120 Comments »
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the player the Eagles traded up for and drafted in the 4th round (pick 98):
40 – 4.91
Hands – 10 1/8
Stats – NCAA
Stats – ESPN
* 4-year starter at USC. Also started all 4 years in high school, at major powerhouse Mater Dei.
* 34-13 record as starter at USC
* Barkley set Pac-12 career records for passing yards (12,327), completions (1,001), touchdowns (116) and total offense (12,214) as he won the 2012 Wuerffel Trophy, was a finalist for the Manning Award, Unitas Golden Arm Award, Senior CLASS Award and ARA Sportsmanship Award and was a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete. USC’s first-ever 3-time captain, he set 20 USC career, season and game records (10 were Pac-12 standards). Last fall, he completed 63.6% of his passes for 3,273 yards and 36 TDs.
Barkley is a talented QB with NFL ability, but he is not a sure thing to even become a starter, let alone a good starter. There is a reason that Barkley fell down to the 4th round. Great value or not, he was still the 98th pick in a league that is so desperate for good QBs that teams were happy to acquire Matt Cassel, David Garrard, and Chase Daniel this offseason.
Let’s talk about what we know with Barkley. He has great experience. He played for a tough coach in Lane Kiffin. Barkley played in a system that combines elements of the WCO and the spread. He threw a ton of passes at or behind the line of scrimmage (LOS). Barkley benefited from his extremely talented WRs racking up run-after-catch (RAC) yards. The flip side is that Barkley got the ball out quickly and accurately so that the receivers could then make plays for him. He wasn’t throwing lollipops out wide and then watching them just run 50 yards against low-level competition.
Let’s talk about competition for just a second. USC is one of a handful of schools that has never played a I-AA (FCS) opponent. They play league games and regional or big time opponents. Barkley played in 11 games this year. 8 of the defenses he faced finished in the Top 50 in the nation. By comparison, Geno Smith faced 4 such defenses. EJ Manuel faced 5 of them (in 14 games). Smith played one game vs I-AA competition (James Madison). Manuel’s first 2 games of the year were against Murray State and Savannah State. FSU won by a total of 124-3. Say what you want about Barkley, but he has played good competition.
Now for the breakdown:
Accuracy - Good. Barkley is an accurate passer. Please don’t mention completion percentage. That’s not what we’re talking about. An accurate QB puts the ball in a specific spot, time after time. Chip Kelly unloaded a new phrase on us the other day – repetitive accuracy. That’s exactly right. The point is that you want a QB who will get the ball to his receivers the same way over and over so that they know where to expect it. That helps the receivers get their hands in position to make the grab. The goal is for the receiver to catch the ball on the move so that he can then get RAC yards. Most QBs are taught to aim for a player’s midsection. Drew Brees has an interesting theory. He aims for a receiver’s eyes. He says they will never lose sight of the ball that way.
Kelly likes Barkley’s accuracy quite a bit. And he should. Barkley consistently puts the ball out in front of his receivers so that they can catch it on the run. I was surprised at how good Barkley is with some intermediate and even deep balls. He is very good with fade routes down the sideline. Barkley truest his receivers to make a play and will put the ball right there on them and the DB. His deep accuracy is inconsistent, but as a point of reference it is much better than Nick Foles from 2011.
My favorite passes from Barkley came on throws to the sideline. He put the ball behind the CB and in front of the S. He would even do this vs man coverage when the WR was covered. These throws had a combination of touch and velocity. Great play and a pass that Barkley threw as well as anyone could.
Arm Strength - Average. Too many people rip Barkley as if he has a terrible arm. That’s not the case. He has an average arm. He actually is a better deep passer than most realize. The key there is that he can use his lower body to help generate throwing power. There was a play in the 2nd half of the Utah game where Barkley threw the ball from his 9-yard line to Marqise Lee and Lee caught it at the Utes 32-yard line. That ball traveled 59 yards in the air. Lee had to slow down at the last second, but that was a good deep ball. Barkley does have more underthrown deep balls than you’d like. You’ll see his WRs slow down for the ball and make the catch. Good result, but still an underthrown pass.
To me, the bigger issue is that some of Barkley’s intermediate throws lack the kind of velocity you’d prefer. This led to some INTs and incompletions. Defenders have a chance to jump routes that they shouldn’t be able to get to. There was a play in one game when Barkley drifted to his left. He saw a WR open over the middle. Barkley didn’t have time to turn his body and step into the throw. He was parallel to the LOS and threw with an odd motion. The pass was right on the money and complete, but had little velocity to it. In the NFL, a DB would likely get to that pass. He will have to adjust to NFL game speed. I don’t think Barkley has the arm strength to throw from different platforms and get the ball to his targets quickly.
Barkley is an excellent touch passer and there are times when he’s trying to throw a catchable pass rather than a bullet. It will be interesting to see if Barkley adjusts this in the NFL and tries to put more velocity on his throws.
Pocket Presence - Inconsistent. Barkley at times is a savvy veteran that moves around pretty well and is able to buy time. There are other plays when he shows no feel for rushers being near him. The USC offensive line was a mess in 2012 so it was tough to get a feel for him based on that. Put on the Stanford game and you’ll see the OL just getting manhandled. Barkley isn’t afraid of sitting in the pocket when under duress. In fact, there are times when he’s too tough and would be wiser to move around.
Athleticism - Average. Barkley isn’t going to scare anyone with his mobility, but he ran a respectable 40 time. Barkley ran for 6 career TDs. Geno Smith had 4, Landry Jones 3, and Ryan Nassib 5. Those guys are all pocket passers. Barkley can throw on the run. USC did a lot with bootlegs and Barkley is effective on them. I wouldn’t call it a strength, though. Barkley isn’t very elusive when trying to get away from rushers, but he does know how to slide. He will run when there is room and no better option, but don’t expect more than a few yards. His long run at USC was 27 yards.
Mechanics - Good. Barkley has played under Center and in the shotgun. He never played in a pure spread offense so he understands how to take snaps, drop back, set, and throw the ball. His motion is fluid and natural. His footwork is good. There aren’t wasted steps. He doesn’t have busy feet. Barkley is smart enough to adjust his body when making different throws. He’ll adjust his release point depending on if he wants the ball high or low. Barkley doesn’t have a cannon for an arm so he does a good job of stepping into throws to help drive the ball. Way too many QBs are casual with their feet and make arm throws. Barkley has been well-coached over the years and it shows. Barkley does a good job with play fakes. He extends the ball to the RB to sell the run action.
Instincts/Reading Coverage/Decision-Making - This category is really hard to judge without seeing coaches tape and knowing the USC offense really well. From a simplistic level, I see Barkley generally finding the open receiver. There are times when Barkley makes a mistake and puts a ball into coverage. Some times these are aggressive throws, but I also saw some where Barkley didn’t see a defender and flat out made a bad read. Barkley was too aggressive at times. He isn’t afraid to put the ball into a tight window. You like the fact that he’s fearless, but he threw 48 career INTs and that’s too many. Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib combined to throw 49 career picks.
One of Barkley’s biggest strengths is also a major weakness. He doesn’t like to give up on plays. This led to him taking some dumb chances. When defenders got into the backfield, Barkley’s internal clock sped up a bit, but he kept looking downfield. There are some plays where he would throw the ball away as he was being hit or slung to the ground. Dumb, dumb, and dumb. Take the sack. Don’t risk the turnover. Eli Manning is the best QB I’ve ever seen at doing this and getting away with it. Ben Roethlisberger is up there, but he does fumble too much. Barkley didn’t fumble much at all, but if he tries that stuff in the NFL, he’s going to be in trouble.
In defense of Barkley, he went into a lot of games knowing that he had to score a lot of points. The USC defense ranged from average to awful during his tenure. The running game was mediocre. That meant Barkley and the passing attack had to make plays. Barkley was 8-8 in games where USC scored 24 points or less. He knew that points had to be scored and that meant being aggressive and taking chances.
I don’t have stats for Barkley as a Red Zone passer, but he passed the eye test. He showed the ability to make quick reads and get the ball out immediately or to give his guys time to get open. I didn’t see reckless throws or decisions in the RZ. Barkley threw 116 career TDs. The only active QB with more is Landry Jones (123) and he played in 5 more games.
I also like the fact that Barkley gave his receivers a chance to make plays. He would put the ball near them when single-covered, knowing that he had talented WRs that could go get the ball. Think about the Super Bowl and the 3rd down pass that Joe Flacco made to Anquan Boldin. Flacco threw to a covered WR, but Boldin went up and got the ball. That was a huge play. It wasn’t a high percentage play, but you must be able to take chances like that in some situations. Barkley got to play with skilled receivers in college and that will serve him well in the NFL.
Intangibles - Very good. I cannot stress this enough. Matt Barkley is not Mark Sanchez or Matt Leinart. Those guys played at USC with complete teams that could dominate. Sanchez was only the starter for one full season. USC had the #2 defense in the nation and the #22 running game. In Leinart’s 3 years as a starter…he lost a total of 2 games. Those teams were loaded with great college talent (and some pretty good NFL talent). Barkley had defenses that ranked 40th, 54th, 84th, and 60th. The rushing attack was 44th, 25th, 53rd, and 71st. It was up to Barkley to carry USC in his time there.
Sanchez and Leinart also played at USC in the glamour days. Snoop Dogg was there at practice. Will Ferrell was on the sideline at games. Life was good. Life was fun. Barkley was there when the glamour was gone and football was the focus. Leinart stayed at USC for his Senior year despite having a chance to be a high pick. He took one class…ballroom dancing. Leinart wanted to enjoy the good life for another year. He was dating gorgeous SoCal babes, learning to dance, and playing football. Heck, that’s a lifestyle that NFL players would be jealous of.
Barkley showed great leadership after his Freshman season when Carroll left and things started to get ugly. Barkley went to the football office and got a list of recruits. He called them to let the guys know he was staying and that he wanted the guys to still come to USC. There was no coach in place. There were rumors of NCAA sanctions coming down. Barkley was doing everything in his power to keep things together. He was the leader of the program and wasn’t even a Sophomore. Think about where you were at that time in your life. Could you have done that? I had a hard time getting to Friday classes after Thursday night drinking.
I don’t want to paint Barkley out to be a saint, but his family seems to have done a good job of keeping him grounded. They have stayed active in charity work over the years. Back in 2010, with no bowl game to go to, Barkley took a trip to Nigeria during Christmas break. That’s no joke. He went to do some help with a missionary that was friends with his mom.
We’re always judging players from far away so one can never be sure, but Barkley sure looks like the kind of guy you would trust as your franchise QB. He’s smart, driven, successful, and doesn’t project the glamour boy image that other USC QBs did.
Projecting Barkley to the NFL is tough. I could see him having a terrific career or getting stuck as a career backup. I don’t doubt that he’ll be in the league for a while. He loves football and seems like the kind of guy who will do whatever he can to stick around. I do question if he’s got the physical ability to be a good starter. Put him in the right situation and I think he’s got a chance.
We don’t yet know what Chip Kelly’s offense will look like. We anticipate lots of quick throws and plays designed to create 1-on-1 matchups. There will also be plenty of running the ball. If that is the case, Barkley is a good fit. He’s not going to hit DeSean Jackson 60 yards down the field very often, but Barkley will get the ball out quickly on short throws and give the Eagles talented receivers a chance to make plays for him.
Kelly will give all his QBs a chance to show what they can do. Barkley has the experience to step in right away and challenge for a job, but I don’t expect him to beat out the competition. It would be a great story if it happens, but don’t count on it. Barkley has never faced competition like this, either in terms of the defenses he’ll face or the players he’ll battle for the QB job.
I know many people are going to talk about the fact Barkley was just a 4th round pick and how it is rare that those guys pan out. There is an x-factor here. The Eagles had a higher grade on him. Back in 2000 the Patriots got Tom Brady in the 6th round, but they had him rated much higher. Brady wasn’t your typical 6th round QB. Barkley isn’t your typical 4th rounder. I had Brady rated as a 2nd rounder back then. I had Barkley rated as a 3rd rounder this year. I’m not comparing the players, but rather the circumstances around them and where they got drafted. I liked Tom Brady a lot back then. I’m more ambivalent about Barkley. I hope he pans out in the NFL, but don’t feel overly confident that it will happen.
I watched Gruden’s QB Camp with Barkley after the draft. I was a bit disappointed in the episode. Gruden got stuck discussing protection, but it was frustrating because Barkley explained the play in question very well. Barkley told Gruden what the defense was, what the protection was, and what went wrong. The LT missed an assignment. The rest of the offense did their job correctly.
I did like the fact that Gruden was beating it into Barkley’s head that he needs to make his teammates focus on protection. Gruden showed some good blocks by the RB and told Barkley that he should be praising the heck out of the guy for plays like that. Those blocks are crucial.
My favorite part came when Gruden was focused on a simple play. It is a play-action pass where the FB goes to the flat and there are a couple of players downfield. Gruden showed the play in the Arizona game. It was 4th/2 and in scoring territory. The FB was wide open in the flat. Barkley threw downfield for the TE, who wasn’t able to make the catch. Gruden lectured Barkley on making the smart read and going for the FB. As he said, “You’ll never go broke making a profit.” Great line. If you have an open receiver, get him the ball. Don’t force the situation and go for big plays when you’ve got easy yards right there for the taking.
How does Barkley do with the Bill Parcells QB requirements?
The candidate must be a senior.
The candidate must be a college graduate, and he must hold a 4 year degree.
The candidate must have a B average or better in school.
The candidate must have been a 3 year starter in college.
The candidate must have made 30 starts in college.
The candidate must have 23 victories in college.
The candidate must impress us as a strong leadership figure
The candidate must be strongly recommended by his head coach.
The candidate cannot have a rap-sheet, or run-ins with the law.
Barkley meets all of the requirements that we know of. The only question we have is whether Lane Kiffin gave him a strong recommendation. I’d be shocked if that didn’t happen.
There is a new system some believe in. 26-27-60.
The QB prospect needs to score 26 or higher on the Wonderlic, win 27 or more games in college, and complete 60 percent or higher of his passes. We don’t know Barkley’s Wonderlic score, but he seems like a bright young man and I’d be surprised if he was below that. He meets the other two requirements.
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Do you remember the Eagles Almanac from last year?
It is back and will be even better. This is a publication that a bunch of Eagles writers are putting together to cover all kinds of angles on the team and what might happen in 2013.
Here is the link with all the info.
Make sure to pre-order your copy. If not, you’ll be missing out on this incredible group of writers:
Eagles Almanac 2013 will include detailed analysis, essays, scouting, statistics, and more from your favorite writers and bloggers:
- Mike Tanier: Sports on Earth
- Sheil Kapadia: Philly Mag – Birds 24/7
- Tim McManus: Philly Mag – Birds 24/7, 97.5 The Fanatic
- Tommy Lawlor: PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Iggles Blitz, Scouts Notebook
- Jason Brewer: Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation Philly
- Jimmy Kempski: Blogging the bEast, Bleeding Green Nation, Morning Call
- Brian Solomon: NBC Philadelphia, McNabb or Kolb, Forbes
- Tom McAllister: Bury Me in My Jersey
- Derek Sarley: Iggles Blog
- Sam Lynch: Iggles Blog, Iggles Blitz
- Gabe Bevilacqua: Iggles Blog, Bounty Bowl
- Dan Klausner: Bleeding Green Nation
- Justin Stranzl: Oregon insider
- Brent Cohen: Eagles Rewind
I haven’t seen such a wretched hive of scum and villainy since the last Justin Bieber tour, but boy can these people write.
Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 69 Comments »
The Eagles didn’t draft an OLB or ILB. The team did sign UDFA Jake Knott. Does this mean that Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly, and Bill Davis are happy with the LB corps?
I think the first thing you need to understand is that the LBs are a mystery right now. The lack of moves doesn’t show satisfaction. The coaches need to see the players in action before evaluating them. There has been a major schematic change. Mystery doesn’t mean good or bad, simply unknown.
We might find out that Brandon Graham is perfect as the Predator in the new defense. Connor Barwin has played SAM in a similar system so there is less schematic change for him, but there is dealing with a new team, new coaches, and the pressure of knowing Sheil Kapadia will be doing All-22 breakdowns of his game tape. That’s enough to overwhelm any normal human being. Trent Cole is going to have a better year than he did in 2012. I just can’t see a proud man like him playing like that again. Still, I don’t know if he’ll get anywhere close to the old days of 11 and 12 sacks.
Beyond the big 3, I don’t know what’s going on. I think Chris McCoy is the backup at SAM. Both Phillip Hunt and Everette Brown are more likely to be backups at the Preadator spot. McCoy is a longshot to make the roster, but we’ll see how that goes. Hunt lacks the size that Kelly prefers, but might be acceptable for 2013. Brown is a longshot, but I did like him a lot coming out of college.
The x-factor here could be Vinny Curry. The Eagles loaded up on DEs. You have Fletcher Cox, Ced Thornton, Joe Kruger, Ronnie Cameron, David King, Clifton Geathers, and a couple of UDFAs. Will Curry stay at DE or possibly shift out to backup SAM? It is early enough in the offseason that he could still shed a few pounds and make the switch. Curry would want to be in the 270 range at SAM so that’s not a huge change.
Or maybe the Eagles will make a sign a free agent. I don’t know who is available. The Eagles could trade for someone. Having Barwin as the starter is the key. You can figure out what to do for his backup. There is time to solve that issue.
What about ILB? DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are the starters. Ryans is a short term player, but could play another 2 or 3 years. Kendricks is too small for Kelly to be comfortable, but if Kendricks plays well, Kelly will gladly make an exception. I do think Kendricks can play well in this scheme. I expect him to have a good year.
The backup ILBs are a total mystery. Jason Phillips was signed as a UFA and Jake Knott as a UDFA. These are players specifically chosen for the scheme. That gives them a leg up. Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews clearly are not in good standing. They can win jobs, but will need to play well to make the coaches trust them. The team traded for Emmanuel Acho a few weeks back. He is in the mix for a spot as well.
Adam Caplan has talked about the Eagles adding a veteran ILB for a few weeks. You wonder if that will happen or if the team wants to see the current group in a mini-camp or two before making a move. The lack of tackling will limit just how much the coaches could learn, but seeing players on the move can give you an idea of what to expect from some guys.
Next January we’ll know if Graham and Barwin are the future at OLB or if we need help. We’ll know if Ryans and Kendricks are the answer at ILB. We’ll know which backups have a chance and which don’t.
Until then, don’t over-think this. Let’s see the players in action and judge them based on performance rather than projection. Moves can, and probably will be made, as the team tries to find the right mix with the backup LBs/ILBs. This 3-4 thing is new to us and trying to figure out what good depth is will be a learning experience for us.
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A few of you have asked about Fresno State LB Tristan Okpalaugo. He has a tryout deal with the Dolphins for their mini-camp.
There are some rumors about Maryland’s Kenny Tate coming to Philly. His Twitter account says nothing. The Eagles have said nothing. He would be an odd fit. The former SS moved to OLB a couple of years back, but at 6-3, 221 would need to play SS or ILB in the NFL. He isn’t a pass rusher and would be an odd fit with the Eagles at OLB. SS is the spot where he would have the best chance and would make the most sense. We’ll see what happens there.
Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 82 Comments »
Let’s take a look at some things that we learned from the Eagles 2013 draft.
The Eagles were interested in players, not positions. Chip Kelly made it clear the Eagles had serious interest in Dion Jordan. Peter King mentioned today in a casual blurb the Eagles weren’t going to pick him, but it is impossible to know if that’s true or exactly what King was told. Since Chip went on the record as saying the Eagles liked Jordan, I’m assuming the interest was legit. When the Eagles didn’t get the dynamic edge rushing LB, you would think they would feel the need to find another one somewhere else. Never happened. They didn’t even add a UDFA LB.
The Eagles have LBs in Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole. What they were interested in was a player with big time ability and athleticism. When they didn’t get Jordan, they passed on LBs altogether.
Versatility is a crucial trait. Lane Johnson can play RT or LT. Zach Ertz can line up all over the place. Bennie Logan too. Earl Wolff can play FS or SS. David King can move around. Joe Kruger lined up all over at Utah. Kelly isn’t looking for static players that will sit in one spot and do the same thing over and over. He wants to be multiple on offense and defense. That means he needs players who can line up in multiple spots and fill a variety of roles.
The Eagles will run the 4-3 Under. I don’t think you draft Bennie Logan in the early 3rd round if you want to run a 3-4 with guys playing 2-gap. That’s just not an ideal fit for a high pick. Logan is ideal for NT in the 4-3 Under. That role requires a player that can anchor against the run at times and shoot gaps on other plays. Logan is that kind of a player. The Eagles have already talked to him about playing in the 315 to 320 pound range. Logan does have 34-inch arms and could slide out to DE if needed, but he’s a limited athlete that is meant to be a 1-tech NT. Over time he’ll develop the ability to be a 3-4 NT, but he’s not a guy that is meant to be a block-eater.
Joe Kruger can play in any scheme. David King is best suited for the 4-3 Under. He lacks the size to be a 2-gap player, but could be a solid 5-tech in the 4-3 U. Heck, it would not shock me if he bulked up enough that he could even be a backup NT, playing the 1-gap technique. King is in the 6-4, 280 range. Bill Davis’ NT in Arizona was Bryan Robinson, who was about 6-4, 305. Damion Square is another player that is best suited for the 4-3 U. He could be a backup DE or NT.
Character mattered. Kelly said that the two most impressive interviews the Eagles had at the Combine were Matt Barkley and Bennie Logan. Those were players that those of us on the outside didn’t expect the team to take, but clearly the Eagles liked what they saw on tape, but also felt were the kind of guys they wanted on the team.
Earl Wolff, Jordan Poyer, and David King were also considered major team leaders.
Chip Kelly likes Cajun food. Kelly went to Georgia’s Pro Day. No Dawgs ended up being drafted or signed. Kelly went to LSU’s Pro Day. The team drafted Bennie Logan and then signed UDFAs Brad Wing and Russell Shepard all from LSU.
Plans can change. For a long time, I thought the Eagles wanted a QB in the draft. My hope was for a mid-round pick, but there was lots of chatter about Geno Smith at #4 and EJ Manuel in the 2nd round. The day before and the day of the draft Dave Spadaro and Adam Caplan started laying hints that the Eagles might not take a QB at all.
My guess…and it is strictly a guess…is that the Eagles were going to take a QB late or not at all. The Eagles passed on Geno at 4 and 35. They passed on Manuel at 4. Think about the other QBs that the Eagles showed the most interest in. Matt Scott was a UDFA. Zac Dysert went in the 7th round. Ryan Griffin and Jeff Tuel were UDFAs.
So what happened? Matt Barkley happened. He was simply too good to pass up. The Eagles had him rated as a Top 50 player. They probably figured he would go in the 3rd round. When Barkley was sitting there on the board to open the 4th round, the was just too good not to go get. Barkley can be a starting QB in the NFL. Worst case scenario he’s a backup. Think about this…Matt Barkley was a 4th round pick. So was Mike Kafka. Which guy would you rather have?
I don’t want to get into a “what does this mean” discussion in this post. Let’s save that for strictly a Barkley discussion. The point is that good QBs are too important to pass on. Barkley has the potential to be a good QB. There is no guarantee that Barkley will pan out, but he was absolutely worth the risk of a 4th round pick.
The Eagles can stay put. Over the years, the Eagles did a lot of wheeling and dealing in the draft. This year the team stayed put, with the exception of moving up a couple of spots for Barkley. Can we take any lesson from this? Not really. We need to see at least one more draft before we can start to see if there is going to be a change in terms of moving up/down in the draft.
I know many people think that all the moving in previous years was not a good sign. The Eagles were trying to be too smart. Or too cute. Or something else.
I am a believer that sitting still in the draft is every bit as crazy as moving too much. I think you identify the players you want and you go get them. That can mean moving around. There is no absolute way of doing things that is better than the other. The Eagles traded up for Fletcher Cox, Shawn Andrews, and Todd Herremans. Good moves. Trading up for Jerome McDougle was a major failure. Brandon Graham remains a mystery.
The Eagles have made some mistakes in the past when they didn’t appreciate the impact of a key player. Having extra picks is nice, but don’t get caught up in the numbers game. Value isn’t as important as good players.
That said, there are times when you need a lot of picks. When Jimmy Johnson rebuilt the Cowboys, he loaded up on picks. The draft was 12 rounds back then.
1989 – 15 picks
1991 – 18 picks
1992 – 15 picks
48 picks in 3 years…that is like 4 drafts. Obviously the Herschel Walker trade is where a lot of the extra picks came from, but trust me…Johnson moved up and down quite a bit. He wanted volume.
Johnson did the same thing in Miami in 1996 and 1997 and the volume drafting delivered strong results. It needed to be done since Johnson was trying to re-make the roster.
If Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly hadn’t been so active in free agency, the Eagles would have needed to do something similar in the draft. Since the Eagles did bring in a lot of new bodies, they were free to sit tight in the draft and take the players they wanted.
The real key to drafting…identify good players, draft them and have a good coaching staff that can develop them. It doesn’t really matter whether you move up, sit tight, or move back. Choose wisely.
Posted: April 29th, 2013 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 69 Comments »
DL Isaac Remington – Oregon – 6-6, 298
* Classic camp body. Has good size and has played for Chip Kelly for 2 years. Racked up 25 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 batted passes. Didn’t stand out when I watched tape on him. Think of him as the DL version of Evan Mathis. Remington is a DL with long hair and a good personality. If only he had the athleticism and talent that Mathis does. Longshot even for the practice squad
OL Matt Tobin – Iowa – 6-6, 300
* Played LG in 2011. Started off at LG in 2012 and then shifted to LT. Didn’t particularly stand out at either spot. Has a good build, but isn’t all that athletic. Didn’t get much movement in the run game. Good interior pass blocker. Excellent effort. Lacks the footwork to handle edge rushers in the NFL. Must get stronger. Can get moved back in pass pro at times. Limited upside, but is an experienced blocker coming from an NFL system. Longshot.
WR Russell Shepard – LSU – 6-1, 196
* Really interesting addition. Shepard went to LSU as a big time football star. He was going to be a 2-way QB for them and make the Tiger offense explosive. Didn’t exactly pan out as hoped. Shepard never came close to living up to the hype, but I was impressed by the fact he stuck it out there and carved out a role for himself as a WR/RB/STer. You see some star QBs get to a school and then leave to chase their dreams elsewhere, but most fail at the new school just like the old one. Shepard made something of himself. Finished his LSU career 104-716-5 as runner. 58-570-5 as receiver. He even helped on STs. Shepard covered KOs and punts.
Shepard is a good fit for the Chip Kelly offense. If he can develop his receiver skills, he could be a slot receiver and offensive weapon. Shepard is very good on end arounds and gadget running plays. Kelly loves to do that type of stuff with receivers. I assume Shepard will bust his butt on STs in the NFL since he did that in college. If he can become a backup RS as well, that could help. Shepard is ideal for the practice squad. I don’t think it is likely he makes a strong run at the roster this year, but never say never. The guy has NFL athleticism (4.46 in the 40 and a 38.5 inch VJ).
DL Damion Square – Alabama – 6-2, 293
* Square is an interesting prospect. He started 31 games for Alabama. That tells you that Nick Saban thinks he can play and trusts him on the field. Square has average size and is maybe an average athlete. He has short arms for a DL. Those factors won’t help his transition to the NFL. If you watch his 2012 tape, Square isn’t all that impressive. I need to go back and study 2010 & 2011. Square racked up 7 TFLs in each of those years, showing him to be more of a playmaker. What changed (only 4 as a Senior)?
Square is more than a camp body, but he has an uphill battle. He uses his hands pretty well. He’s got some quickness off the ball, but nothing special. You just don’t see anything special from him on tape. Solid college player, but limited pro prospect. The Eagles want guys that are versatile and Square can play 5-tech, 1-tech, or 3-tech. He’s got experience in a hybrid defense from his time at Bama.
P Brad Wing – LSU – 6-2, 205
* Let’s start with the punting first. Wing is a gifted Punter. He finished 11th in the nation with 44.8 yards per punt this year. LSU was 8th in net punting, and consider that Wing was 2nd in the nation with 11 touchbacks. Returners averaged just over 3 yards per return. Wing has a very strong leg. He can boom the ball. He has the 2 longest punts in the history of the SEC Championship Game. The longest was 67 yards and he had a total of 6 punts go more than 50 yards in that game. Wing easily could have been worth a mid-round pick based on his punting ability.
But Wing isn’t a typical Punter. Rather than tell you the story, go read this great piece from Bob McGinn and you’ll understand that Wing is a handful, on and off the field. If Wing can get his act together, he is talented enough to be the Eagles Punter for the next decade.
ILB Jake Knott – Iowa State – 6-2, 243
* Knott is sorta like the Iowa State version of Dan Connor. He’s the guy who was a star LB in college and did all kinds of amazing things and then the NFL picked apart his game and said “you really weren’t that good”. I see Knott as the ultimate tweener LB. He isn’t physical enough to be the thumper inside. He’s not fast/athletic enough to be the playmaker. Make him just a tad faster and he’d have a chance. I think he could make it in the NFL, but only if he adjusts his game. In college Knott didn’t use good form in dealing with blockers. He would go around them. Or he’s use his shoulder to try and scrape off them. Some players can get away with that, but he lacks the athleticism to be that guy in the NFL. Knott must learn to use his hands. He must stay square and aggressively engage blockers. No more trying to get by. Take them on, defeat the block, and go get the ball.
Knott was a big time playmaker at ISU. He picked off 8 passes and had 10 career FFs. He broke up 15 passes. He had 224 solo tackles and 18 TFLs. Knott has good instincts. He is a wrap-up tackler. He has moments where he is a very impressive player. I just don’t know how he’ll adjust to the NFL game.
RB Miguel Maysonet – Stony Brook – 5-9, 209
* Highly productive I-AA runner. Ran for 4,725 yards and 48 TDs in college. Unfortunately, has average size and average speed. Limited athlete. And he only caught 18 career passes. These factors made him a lesser NFL prospect. I do think Maysonet has NFL potential. He is a downhill runner. He shows a good feel for how to run. There are plays when he attacks upfield. Other times he is patient and lets his blockers do their job. Maysonet might not be big, but he runs strong. He doesn’t go down on first contact. He has good balance, allowing him to take hits and continue going. Maysonet isn’t a dancer. He is always moving forward. He’s not a daylight runner. He goes where the play is supposed to. I have no idea how good a blocker or receiver Maysonet is.
I do think Maysonet is a good fit in Kelly’s offense. Kelly loves his RBs to get upfield. His goal is to spread the defense and attack seams with quick hitters. Maysonet has the style of running to fit this. He lacks the speed that Kelly prefers, but at least runs hard. You know that Maysonte will maximize every run he can. And he does have some big play ability. Against Syracuse, Maysonet hurdled a tackler and then raced 60 yards down the sideline for a TD.
RB Matthew Tucker – TCU – 6-0, 221
* Tucker is bigger than Maysonet. He is faster, stronger, and more athletic. I don’t think Tucker has as good a feel for being a RB as Maysonet. I didn’t see anything special in terms of vision or instincts. Tucker is a N-S runner with good burst. Runs with good strength. He’s definitely not going down on first contact. TCU believes in using a group of RBs and that was true in Tucker’s time there. Only twice in his 4-year career did he have 20 or more carries in a game. Tucker finished with 2,602 yards and 33 TDs. He caught 29 passes. I’ve seen a couple of grabs from him and he looked okay.
Tucker could be a good #3 RB for an NFL team. He has NFL size and speed (4.50). He isn’t a guy that was used to tons of carries in college so being part of a group of RBs isn’t an adjustment for him. He will need to show that he can be good at covering kicks/punts. Tucker has the size and physicality to do that.
C Kyle Quinn – Arizona – 6-4, 297
* 2-year starter for the Wildcats. Not a flashy player in any way, but a good, solid C. Put on the Utah game and watch Quinn vs Star Lotulelei and you’ll be impressed. There were a few times when Star body-slammed Quinn to the ground, but Arizona ran for 320 yards that day, much of it up the middle. Quinn was a big part of that. He would handle a DT on his own at times. He double-teamed on others. Quinn was able to get to the second level and take on LBs. Good game. Quinn is quick off the ball. He uses his hands well and has pretty good agility. He isn’t going to overpower anyone. He shows good awareness and always seems to be in the right spot to block the right guy. Quinn is very good with shotgun snaps.
That last point helps his cause with trying to make the Eagles. Dallas Reynolds is the backup C for now, but he had some real troubles with shotgun snaps last year, especially down the stretch. I’m sure he’s worked on that religiously since, but he can’t afford to have any problems in practice. Quinn has a chance to challenge for the backup C spot. If not, he could be an excellent practice squad candidate. Quinn only started at C in college, but did play some G early on. Teams want backup OL to be versatile.
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This isn’t a great UDFA class. If I had to put them in order of most likely to make the team, it would go like this:
1 – Brad Wing
2 – Kyle Quinn
3 – Matt Tucker
4 – Miguel Maysonet
5 – Russell Shepard
6 – Jake Knott
7 – Damion Square
8 – Matt Tobin
9 – Isaac Remington
Knott is the guy I’m most fascinated by. I love playmakers. Can he play in the NFL? Shepard is a close second. He’s just such a Chip Kelly player.
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I’ll post more on the draft and Matt Barkley tonight. I know Matt is the hot topic. We’ve got a few months to cover every angle with him. I will also talk about the lack of trades and things like that.